LA ROCHE-SUR-YON, France – The USA Rugby AIG Men’s Junior All-Americans, in just their second IRB Junior World Championship since the tier one tournament’s inception, lost to England 0-109 Thursday to complete the pool stage and will move into the ninth-place semifinal against Scotland June 18.
England finished pool play with the best second-place record in the tournament and will join fellow Pool A member South Africa in the Semifinals of the Junior World Championship. The MJAAs were promoted to this year’s tournament after winning the 2012 Junior World Trophy in Salt Lake City, but were placed in the toughest pool with South Africa, who are the reigning title holders.
The young MJAA team has also been facing squads of primarily professional players who typically play full-time in professional leagues like the Super 15 and Aviva Premiership. With the Junior World Trophy win last year, and the bump up into the big leagues, the All-Americans have gotten a taste of what it takes to compete with the top 12 in the world.
The MJAAs still have the opportunity to keep their spot in the top U20 competition with a game against Scotland, who managed just one victory in Pool C against Samoa. Should they win, their spot in next year’s competition will be guaranteed. A loss will put the MJAAs in the 11th place playoff against the loser of Samoa and Fiji in the other ninth-place semifinal. The team to finish last in the tournament will be relegated to the World Junior Trophy in 2014.